Published April 21, 2012
NEW YORK – Derek Fisher has rejected a call from the NBA players' association's executive committee to resign as president, instead urging players to seek a review of the union's finances.
Hours after the NBPA said in a statement Friday that the executive committee voted 8-0 this week that it had lost confidence in Fisher's ability to lead, Fisher reiterated that he told them he will not step down.
"I, along with many others, are extremely disappointed with the Executive Committee," Fisher said Friday in a statement. "Their demand for my resignation and their need to protect the NBPA management and their own best interests instead of protecting the players we were elected to serve is unfortunate."
Fisher, who recently signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder after playing most of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, has been the union's president since 2006. He led players during the negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement this offseason.
A rift between Fisher and union executive director Billy Hunter seemed to develop during the lockout, Fisher often speaking to the media alone while Hunter left quickly after negotiating sessions.
The rift peaked Wednesday with the executive committee's vote.
"The Executive Committee based its decision on numerous instances over the past six months, where Fisher engaged in conduct detrimental to the union, including acting in contravention of the players' best interests, during collective bargaining, declining to follow the NBPA Constitution, and failing to uphold the duties of the Union President," the statement said.
Fisher said any player may request an independent review of the union's business practices and finances.
"The allegations that are now being directed at me are defamatory," Fisher said. "But I urge our members to order an independent review beginning immediately and that will be proven along with finding out definitively if there are any issues with the NBPA's business practices and finances."
After the Thunder's 103-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night, Fisher expounded on his earlier statement.
"Most guys who have contacted me said they support the idea of a business review," he said. "They haven't said much about the process of how we got here."
Fisher also spoke about his relationship with Hunter.
"I can't speak for Billy Hunter. We obviously worked close together over the last three years. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about whether or not things that have happened or will happen are personal," Fisher said. "My focus as president of our membership is that I have an obligation under federal labor laws that if there are things of concern or should be questioned, I as an officer of a union have an obligation to look into it. It's not about personal allegations or pointing fingers at any one person. It's about the truth in general and the truth could call into question everyone including my leadership and other people who work at the players association."